2021 Festival 8-18 July

Science Teller: Imagine a Sustainable Society
Teens |Adults

Imagine living in a sustainable society. What would that look like and what would it take to get us there?

Over two days, we’re bringing together some of the best thinkers and doers on sustainability. From dealing with climate change to engineering our way into a sustainable future, this is about more than just imagining a better world for us; it’s about creating a more sustainable future.

Schedule of events:

Thursday 8 July
14:00-14.30 Event opening & welcome
14.30-15.00 Keynote speaker: Rod Carr, Chair of the Climate Change Commission
15.00-16.00 Panel discussion with speakers Rod Carr (Chair of the Climate Change Commission), Aaron Hawkins (Dunedin City Mayor) and Ciara Foley (School Strike for Climate).
16.00-17.00 snacks and mingle

About the Panel:

Rod Carr is the Chairperson of the Climate Change Commission. He has previously served as Chair of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and Vice Chancellor of the University of Canterbury.

Aaron Hawkins is currently serving in his first term as Mayor of Dunedin, after six years as a Dunedin City Councillor. During his time in local government he has focused on supporting social and environmental wellbeing outcomes, areas where both the challenges and solutions are intrinsically linked. Mayor Hawkins believes strongly in the role of sub-national governments in addressing the challenges of climate change and social cohesion, and leads a council that sees itself as outward looking and internationally connected. This expresses itself in many different ways, whether it’s the UNESCO Creative Cities network, of which Dunedin is a City of Literature; Sister Cities relationships in Scotland, China and Japan; active involvement in the international ICLEI network; newer projects like the Centre for Digital Excellence, building a world class video game industry in the city; or indeed long running initiatives like this one, here at the University of Otago.

Ciara Foley is a 17 year old grassroots environmental activist, and passionate philosophy student from Ōtautahi/ Christchurch.

Friday 9 July

We will hear from local changemakers paving the way to a greener future, and empowering meaningful action. Two morning sessions on the themes of food, and urban futures, will bring together professional practitioners and academic experts discussing everything from food production to food waste, healthy soils to healthy people, housing to transport, and the fashion industry.

Lightening talks will be followed by an open forum for questions, with morning tea provided by Precinct Food in keeping with our sustainability ethos. In the afternoon we will transform the space into a marketplace-style setup celebrating local sustainability initiatives through workshops, demonstrations and a whole range of fun hands-on activities.  A detailed programme is below:

9.00-9.15         Welcome and Introduction – Dr Cathy Cole, Centre for Science Communication

9.15-10.30       Panel Talks and Q&A: Food

  • Our Food Network – Dr Andy Barratt, Our Food Network

  • Growing abundant, quality food in a city garden - Rory Harding, George Street Orchard

  • Food choices for planetary and human health – Dr Sara Styles, University of Otago’s Department of Human Nutrition

  • Fungi as food and far more - Bart Acres, Mycologic

  • Food waste innovation – Prof Miranda Mirosa, University of Otago’s Department of Food Science

  • Recycling food waste through composting methods - Finn Boyle, Pōpopo – Otago Poyltechnic’s campus compost facility

10.30-11.00     Morning tea: Precinct Food

11.00-12.15     Panel Talks and Q&A: Urban futures

  • Equity in healthy and sustainable urban planning – Prof Alex Macmillan, University of Otago’s Department of Preventive and Social Medicine

  • Sustainable architecture – Prof Tobias Danielmeier, Otago Polytechnic

  • High Street Co-housing Project - Dr Maria Callau, Sur Architecture

  • (In)active transport - Nathan Parker, Valley Community Workspace

  • Re-imagining textile waste - Fiona Jenkin, Stitch Kitchen

  • What does the future of urban waste for Dunedin look like? - Fiona Clements, Res.Awesome Ltd

  • Community action towards zero-waste - Judy Martin, OneCoast

12.15-13.15     Break

13.15-16.00     Sustainability Marketplace: workshops and demonstrations featuring:

  • DCC & ORC South Dunedin Future Project - planning for our futures together with local communities in the face of uncertainties such as climate change

  • Food Waste Innovation - food waste flat hacks, including a bicycle-powered smoothie maker!

  • Fabulously frugal – Self-sufficiency at home with Hilary Rowley

  • Sew On – making reusable cloth pads with Christine Keller

  • Stitch Kitchen – recycle used fabrics into a beautiful soft elephant toy with Fiona Jenkin

  • Community Valley Workspace – learn about this community-run cooperative and check out some eBikes with Nathan Parker

  • Mycologic – the remarkable world of fungi as biomaterials, medicine, and in soil health with Bart Acres

  • Composting – wormeries and compost demos with Otago Polytech’s worm whisperer, Finn Boyle

  • George Street Orchard – examples and tips for urban food production with Rory Harding

  • CoGo Carbon Footprint tracking – match your spending with your values with Verena Wimmer

  • Enviroschools – our circular economy activities with Jennie Upton

  • Clothing and book swap – sharing your pre-loved treasures! Donations welcome in advance (email cathy.cole@otago.ac.nz) and on the day.


Afternoon tea provided by Precinct Food


Please bring along a keep-cup for our water fountains, as we will not be using disposable cups at this event.

Other Events

See all Events